Spiritual Practice As An Art

I'm usually a quiet, unassuming person, but sometimes I'm easily triggered. There are certain things that can set me off. As great as the internet is, social media can be full of triggers. I used to let those triggers control me. Now I've learned to recognize them and minimize their impact. Facebook is a great example. It's so easy to read something and then quickly type out a reply, especially an angry one. Triggers are everywhere in today's society. 

There are certain people I follow on Facebook, I read their blogs, and subscribe to their newsletters. They are people who I'm not in agreement with on many issues. For me, they are trigger people. It would be so easy to just unfriend them, unsubscribe, forget them altogether. 

But I realized that they are not the problem. My reaction to them is the problem.

There, I said it, my reaction to them is the problem. The problem comes from my end. No amount of anger, criticism, or comments from me will likely change them. But it will get me worked up. Instead, I can choose to change how I both react and respond to them.

There are blog posts that I've written after being triggered by something. Some I've published, but others I've learned to sit on. I write them, then wait a few days before I revisit them. Those few days often allow me to get a different perspective on what I wrote. They allow me to understand why I wrote what I did. Sometimes that new perspectives gives me the chance to rewrite things to have a better focus. Other times I realize that while my perspective may be valid, it doesn't need to be shared across the internet, so I either delete it, or sit on it further, allowing time to hopefully give me a different view down the road.

Spiritual practice is an art akin to tightrope walking.

I'm often pulling off a balancing act, not sure if I will fall or stay the course. But I've learned that everything I do, in fact my very life, is that way. 

What I've gotten from all this is a lesson in compassion. Both compassion for those who trigger me (I don't know what is happening in their life that may be causing them to be who they are), and compassion for myself (others don't know what may be happening in my life to cause me to act the way I do). Compassion for oneself. It sounds easy, but is often the hardest thing to do.

So I walk this tightrope, I fall off, I get back on. Spiritual practice is an art that must be practiced each day. Keep practicing.

~ MB


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